21 November, 2006

The Addict

He would have to do it again. He could feel the pressure building up and recognized it for what it was: that throbbing need that drove him. He began the meticulous planning that he knew from experience would take weeks to complete. He would be pitting himself in a battle of wits against an unknown army of opponents far better equipped than he would ever be. He knew the full array of weapons this army had at its disposal, but not which of those weapons would be brought to bear against him, nor the skill with which they would be wielded. He had to plan against each one, as if it would be used by the most skilled. He chose an area on a map and began to scout for the perfect battleground. For several weeks he visited those streets as many different people, feeling for the pulse that gave life to the streets. Curly brown hair, wavy black, straight sun-bleached locks; now a starkly serious business man, now a sweaty jogger, now with a hard hat and dusty jeans, even a filthy, drunken transient. He was there to watch the morning scurry as everyone rushed to their assigned boxes, and was there to watch the renewed frenzy in the evening as those boxes disgorged their unwilling captives. He joined the weekend revelers and Sunday worshippers, and studied the slower, and far more dangerous, dance of the darkest hours of the night. When he was not watching, he was planning, practicing, predicting every move of every player, readying himself for the event. At last he arrived at the chosen place at the chosen time, ready to begin the game. The last piece had been left to fate: the opening player. He had not waited many minutes before he spotted it. A man, still a block away, at least an inch taller and twenty pounds heavier than himself, walking, laughing, with its arm around a beautifully matching woman. The clothing, the woman, the confident air, even the athletic physique, spoke of a man moving up in the world from an already enviable position. He looked up and down the street, noting those few who would soon record the unexpected event as he waited for the newly chosen player to approach. Adrenal glands began to work. Closer. Talking. Laughing again. They passed. The moment came. He lept up behind the man, snaking his left arm around the throat, forcing the body to bend back against him. The woman stumbled as hands shot up to grab his arm, but in vain. The seconds slowed to near infinite lengths as he began to slide the black, seven inch blade of the KA-BAR made knife between the ribs of the back, just to the right of the spine, and into the lung. The thin leather jacket was pierced with minimal effort, and the cloth beneath was no barrier at all. The flesh was firm, but gave with the pressure. The slick wet sound of the knife entering and leaving the body was all he could hear for the moment, and he shivered with rapture. He tasted the fear and the pain and he moaned with pleasure. He imagined he could feel the soul leave the body as it went rigid, then limp against him and he very nearly passed out from the ecstasy. The clothing of the man kept the blood from spurting wildly and the leather jacket kept all but a few small spots of blood from transferring to his own clothes. The jacket even wiped much of the blood off the blade as it slid out of the wound. The blade finished its work and he let the body drop. Time came rushing back to speed as the piercing screams of the woman crashed into his ears. He turned and fled down the chosen alley and began to shed the man he was and don another. First he wiped the knife clean with a small handkerchief and disposed of the cloth in a storm drain he had earlier explored. With a practiced move he stuck the knife into the sheath tucked into the back of his pants and under his jacket. The jacket, with its few small spots of still glistening blood, he unzipped and removed, revealing a slightly rumpled white shirt, unbuttoned at the neck. Rather then discard the jacket, he turned it inside out, hiding the black exterior and the blood, and exposing the lighter brown of the reversible interior. He put it back on, then stripped the isotoner gloves off his hands. Stuffing them into one pocket, he pulled a conservative red tie out of another, replacing it with the black knit cap, leaving his hair slightly mussed. Already knotted into a business-like noose, he slipped the tie over his head and under his collar, cinching it up until the knot rested and inch or two below the undone top button. Finally he began to remove pieces of his face. The bushy goatee, the menacing scar, the putty that had enlarged his nose and brow, all went into another pocket. A few more twists of the alley and at last he rested, to calm his breathing and to take care of any pursuit. Nestled at the small of his back, next to the knife, was a small nine millimeter Beretta semi-automatic for just that purpose. His breathing slowed, and with no sign of pursuit, he walked the now short distance to the mouth of the alley and onto an empty street. There he adopted the deliberate walk of a man trying, but failing, to hide his mild tipsiness. The attitude was not far from the truth. The adrenaline had run its course, leaving him somewhat shaky, only to be replaced by the euphoria that always came after an event. He walked two blocks, turned onto a much livelier street, and vanished.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You've been watching too much CSI.